Friday October 22nd, 2010

“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour…”

time-travelCharles Yu, author of the recently published novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, lists 10 of his favorite books about time travel. He starts with Slaughterhouse-Five, always a good choice. (“Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.”)

The rest of his list is worth reading, and then there are several compelling additions from people in the comments underneath the piece. One of them is The Technicolor Time Machine by Harry Harrison. Published in 1957, it sounds very Terry Gilliam. Wikipedia sums up its plot:

The narrative revolves around the efforts of a mediocre film director to save his job, his livelihood and just incidentally the studio he works for. To do this, he enlists a mad scientist, the crooked studio owner, a jazz tuba player, a cowboy, two fabulously stupid movie stars, and a real live ocean-crossing Viking. He ends up making history, but in a way he never dreamed of.

A few more that caught my eye: Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock, a short book — controversial, I’m sure — in which someone from 1970 travels back in time to find Jesus and ends up assuming the role of the savior when the facts don’t match what he was expecting to find. (The book has also had, as you can imagine, its share of amazingly ’70s-ish covers: here, here and here, for starters.) Replay by Ken Grimwood, in which a man keeps going back in time with his memories of the future intact, a la Groundhog Day (which the novel predates).

And Sputnik Caledonia by Andrew Crumey, a story of time travel and alternative history. John Self reviewed the book here, and interviewed Crumey here.